How Social Media Affects Your Mental Health

  • author name Ketra A. Forry, MA, LPC, CAADC, MTTS
People using cell phones

While social media allows you to connect and stay in touch like never before, all the posts, likes and, shares can take a toll on both your physical and mental health.

American adults spend almost two and a half hours a day on social media. All that sitting and staring can lead to eye and neck strain and increase your risk for conditions like obesity and heart disease.

Perhaps even more importantly, spending several hours a day on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram takes time and focus away from work, study, and spending time with family and friends. In other words, social media reduces your ability to live your real life.

While the amount of time spent online is certainly cause for concern, research is showing that how a person uses social media is actually more important than how often.

Authenticity Is Key

Using social media to present yourself in a way that is not real can lead you to experience sadness, irritability, unhappiness, and other symptoms of depression.

Avoid this by being true to who you are. Express your true thoughts, feelings, and achievements. Don’t post misleading or trumped up versions of yourself. Be genuine. Post photos that are true to you, instead of cropping, enhancing, and filtering.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

When your social media feed becomes a tool to compare yourself to others, you are setting yourself up for failure.

Remember, when many people post on social media, they are striving to get “likes.” When you compare yourself to these often misleading representations, you are trying to live up to a standard that is not realistic or likely attainable.

3 Tips to Prevent Social Media Depression

Here are some tips to prevent social media from having a negative impact on your well-being.

  • Turn off your devices at least an hour before bed. Sleep loss is also a cause of depression.
  • Set time limits. Ask yourself if social media is taking away from other aspects of your life.
  • If negative thoughts are creeping in as you use social media and you cannot stop them, it may be time to take a break to work on your mental health and happiness.

Learn about Behavioral Health Services at Lancaster General Health.

author name

Ketra A. Forry, MA, LPC, CAADC, MTTS

Ketra A. Forry, MA, LPC, CAADC, MTTS, is a licensed professional counselor, a certified drug and alcohol counselor, and a certified tobacco treatment specialist providing integrated behavioral health services at LG Health Physicians Family Medicine Norlanco and Family Medicine Mount Joy.

Education: She completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees at the Pennsylvania State University. She is committed to serving those with both physical and behavioral health concerns with an aim to improve the quality of life for all patients and families served.

Call: 717-653-1467

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.


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